Pastor Jerome flees Sri Lanka ahead of CID probe

Pastor Jerome flees Sri Lanka ahead of CID probe

Pastor Jerome Fernando fled the country this morning ahead of a CID investigation over his controversial remarks made against Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Jerome left for Singapore in the early hours of today and will leave for another destination soon.

The source said he has multiple visas to two other countries at least and he is expected to leave for either one of them. However, authorities are yet to officially confirm that Jerome has left the country as the Immigration Dept and sources at the BIA said they had no information of whether the self-proclaimed Prophet had left.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to launch an immediate investigation into the controversial statement made by Pastor Jerome Fernando, in a manner that harms religious harmony.

Issuing that order, President Wickremesinghe has mentioned to the President’s Advisor on National Security, Sagala Ratnayake that such irresponsible statements can create religious conflicts and affect the country’s harmony.

Accordingly, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake has informed the CID to launch an investigation into the matter, in accordance with the President’s order.

A video clip related to a sermon delivered by a pastor named Jerome Fernando in front of his congregation, which had been widely circulated on social media in recent days, had stirred much controversy within the country, due to allegations that it included derogatory statements related to Lord Buddha.

In his video, Jerome claimed that in a Buddhist’s mind, they never hear the love of Buddha as their focus is enlightenment.

"But to be enlightened you need light. The name Buddha itself means enlightened one. So what is greater, light or enlightenment? Jesus said I am the light of the world. So I tell you now, Jesus didn’t say I am the enlightened one. No, Jesus came from a dif­ferent wavelength. Jesus said I am the light. So I submit to you, the Buddha was looking for light. Buddha was actually looking for Jesus. This is why every Buddhist needs Jesus,” Jerome preached in his prayer to a packed audience.

Meanwhile, the New Buddhist Front (‘Nawa Bikshu Peramuna’) has lodged a complaint with the CID in Colombo Fort against Pastor Jerome, seeking his immediate arrest and for legal action to be initiated against him.

In addition, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) had also made a complaint before the CID today, seeking to strict legal action against the pastor in question.